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Opinions & Interviews

14 May 2019

Plans to build Belarusian national expo center just outside Minsk ring road

Plans to build Belarusian national expo center just outside Minsk ring road

MINSK, 14 May (BelTA) – Plans have been made to build a national expo center near the shopping and entertainment center Expobel by 2021, BelTA learned from First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Aleksandr Turchin on 14 May.

The construction of a large expo center was discussed during the government conference hosted by Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko earlier today. The head of state made it clear that the country needs such a center and gave instructions to finish building it by 2021. Aleksandr Turchin said: “It is a very important decision that the head of state made today. Belarus is an export-oriented country. We considered the construction of the national expo center from this angle: the number of expos, the participation of foreign companies and partners in them, and hence the promotion of our exports abroad.”

On the whole, Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded about the personal responsibility top government officials bear for promoting the export of Belarusian products and services.

The construction of the expo center will in essence be a project of national importance. “There is no doubt that many countries have expo centers dedicated to demonstrating their potential,” Aleksandr Turchin noted. “The decision has been made. We’ve shown the preliminary architectural design to the head of state today. As a matter of principle, the president had no objections. Nevertheless, he gave instructions to take another look at the project taking into account the need to frugally spend money. Everything should look decent and beautiful, but should not be expensive. Instructions were given to get the expo center operational as early as 2021. It is a tight schedule. We will get down to designing the center soon.”

As for the location to build the national expo center, a site was chosen near the shopping and entertainment center Expobel beyond the ring road in Minsk’s north. Other locations were considered and rejected since interests of people, who already live there, may be affected. Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that it was necessary to bear in mind this factor. As a result, the site near the shopping and entertainment center Expobel was agreed. Respectively the preliminary architectural design will be adjusted taking into account the president’s instructions to save money and the need to build the expo center in the authorized location.

The construction of the expo center is supposed to begin in 2020 at the latest. Asked to clarify why Belarus needs a dedicated expo center while other suitable venues are already used for exhibition purposes, Aleksandr Turchin explained that there are only two specialized exhibition venues in Belarus. Those are the BelExpo pavilion at 14 Pobeditelei Avenue in Minsk and the exhibition complex of the China-Belarus industrial park Great Stone. Meanwhile, Belarus, primarily Minsk, hosted over 200 expos and fairs in 2018 alone. The indoor football center, Minsk Arena, and other venues, which host expos from time to time, were originally built for totally different purposes. “Many expos cannot be organized there due to objective reasons. They can’t fit and so on. And, most importantly, the construction of the national expo center is an image-building and iconic project for our country,” First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Aleksandr Turchin explained.

The future expo center is expected to have 15,000m2 of exhibition area in addition to offering as much space for a congress hall and a business center. Outdoor premises for demonstrating heavy machinery and vehicles will be located nearby.

The construction of the future national expo center will be financed either using loans of the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus or by including the project into a government investment program. In line with instructions of the head of state the expo center should pay its way later on. “The state will help build it but the operating company will have to take care of all the consequent expenses and will have to earn its living,” Aleksandr Turchin stressed.

Asked about the creation of a single system to oversee exhibition activities and the choice of the company to do it, Aleksandr Turchin noted: “The matter was discussed today. The government was instructed to consider the options and submit them for consideration of the head of state by the end of H1 2019. We actually have 2-3 variants. We just have to choose an optimal one.”

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